Tips for Earth Day April 22

 Insulating, especially in basement crawlspaces, remains one of the best ways to reduce heat loss.
Insulating, especially in basement crawlspaces, remains one of the best ways to reduce heat loss.

Climate action can start at home

Earth Day is on April 22 and for savvy do-it-yourselfers, it’s a good reminder to plan, hammer and drill away at some energy savings to lessen the impact your home has on the environment. You may also save some money along the way.

According to FortisBC, residential customers accounted for 40 per cent of the electricity and 36 per cent of the natural gas it delivered to its B.C. customers in 2015. Reducing the energy used in homes can help reduce emissions and lessen the need to build more generation facilities in the province or import energy from coal or diesel generation facilities located out of the province.

Understanding how you use energy in your own home is the first step. For most homes in B.C., about 50 per cent of energy is used for space heating followed closely by water heating, so those are good areas to focus.

You can take action by doing a few simple, do-it-yourself upgrades in your own home.

Five easy ways to prevent valuable heat from escaping:

  • Upgrading the weather stripping materials around your door and window frames.

  • Installing a door sweep on the bottom edge and sealing material attached to the frame.

  • Placing foam gaskets behind the outlet and switch plate covers on exterior walls.

  • Installing – and setting – a programmable thermostat. FortisBC recommends 20 degrees when you’re home and 17 when you are asleep or out.

  • Making sure your home is well insulated from the crawlspace right up to the attic.

Five easy ways to be mindful of hot water use:

  • Installing energy-efficient faucets and showerheads.

  • Stopping drips.

  • Insulating exposed hot water pipes.

  • Washing laundry in cold water.

  • Taking shorter showers.

Some tips for planners and renovators

Plan to save in small doses by looking for energy-efficiency opportunities in all your renos. These small, incremental changes can add up over time and help modernize your home. For example, if you’re ripping out an old kitchen, it can be an opportunity to increase exterior wall insulation, update exposed plumbing and install energy-efficient water fixtures.

Rebates are available for home heating, water heating, appliances and home envelope upgrades, and there is also help available for income-qualified customers. Visit fortisbc.com/offers to see all the available rebates.

Choosing clean, affordable energy

While reducing use is always important, you can also make a difference for as little as a few dollars a month by opting for a portion of the natural gas you use to be renewable natural gas (RNG). FortisBC is on the forefront of providing clean, affordable energy by capturing methane from landfills and agriculture, processing it and injecting it into the natural gas supply. By capturing methane that would otherwise escape into the atmosphere, it’s considered carbon neutral and reduces equivalent carbon dioxide emissions by up to 25 times. So far, FortisBC’s customers have saved and estimated 7,500 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (C02e) which is equal to removing almost 1,600 passenger vehicles from the road for one year.

 

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